The Pit Was Empty, Without Water

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120) “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” People should delve in the Torah abundantly, for anyone who delves in the Torah will have life in this world and in the next world, and he will be rewarded with both worlds. And even one who delves in it, but does not delve in it properly, he is still imparted a good reward in this world and is not judged in the world of truth.

121) “Length of days is in her right.” Length of days is for one who delves in the Torah Lishma [for Her Name]. He has long days in the world where there is length of days—in the everlasting world. And the days in it are certainly days, meaning good and worthy of their name. Also, there is certainty of higher sanctity there, which is the desirable reward that man trusts in this world—to delve in the Torah in order to be happy in that world, the eternal one.

“…riches and honor in her left,” meaning he has good reward and tranquility in this world.

122) When anyone who engages in Torah Lishma passes away from this world, the Torah walks before him and declares him and protects him so that no prosecutors will approach him. When the body lies in the grave, she keeps it; when the soul parts, to return to her place, she walks before the soul and many closed gates are broken before the Torah, until she brings the soul to her place.

And the Torah watches over a man when he awakens for the revival of the dead, when the dead of the world arise, and she advocates it.

123) “When you walk, it will lead you,” meaning the Torah walks before him when he passes away. “…when you lie down, it will watch over you,” when the body lies in the grave, for then the body is judged in the grave and the Torah protects it. “…and when you awaken, it will speak of you,” when the dead of the world will rise from the dust, she “will speak of you” to advocate for you.

124) “…it will speak of you.” Even though they have now risen from the dead, they do not forget the Torah that they learned before they died. This is so because then they knew the whole of the Torah that they left when they parted from this world. This Torah is kept for them from that time, and it enters their intestines as before, and speaks in their intestines. It does not return to them slowly, as with thoughts, but clothes all at once, as something that enters the intestines.

125) And everything becomes clearer than before one died, since all those things that he could not properly attain, and delved in them but did not attain them, now comes clearly in his intestines, and the Torah will speak in him. This is the meaning of “…and when you awaken, it will speak of you,” for anyone who delved in the Torah in this world is rewarded with engaging in it in the next world.

126) One who was not rewarded with engaging in the Torah in this world walks in the dark. When he passes away from this world, he is taken and placed in hell, in a low place where there is no one to pity him called, “tumultuous pit of miry clay.”

127) For this reason, it is written of one who does not delve in the Torah in this world and is polluted by the filth of this world, “…and they took him and threw him in the pit.” This is hell—the place where those who do not engage in Torah are sentenced. And the pit was empty because there was no water there, meaning Torah, called “water.”

128) The severity of the punishment for being idle in the Torah is not because they were exiled from the holy land, but because they parted from the Torah and left it. This is why it is written, “Who is the man… for they have forsaken My law.” Hence, this is why “My people go into exile, for lack of knowledge,” lack of Torah.

129) For this reason, everything stands on the keeping of the Torah. And the world does not exist unless in the Torah, which is the sustenance of the worlds above and below, as it is written, “If My covenant is not…”

130) “…and they took him, and threw him in the pit.” This implies that they later threw him to the Egyptians, in whom there was no faith at all. Water is faith. And when he says that the pit is empty, it means that there is no faith there.

If there were serpents and scorpions in the pit, why does it say of Reuben, “…that he might save him from their hands”? Was Reuben not afraid that the serpents and scorpions would harm him? Thus, how did he contemplate returning him to his father, to “…save him from their hands”?

131) But Reuben saw that the damage was certain when he was in the hands of his brothers, for he knew how they had hated him and wished to kill him. Reuben thought it was better to throw him into a pit with serpents and scorpions than to be given into the hands of his enemies who had no pity on him. This is why it is said that one is better off throwing oneself into the fire or into a pit of serpents and scorpions than to give oneself into the hands of one’s enemies.

132) This is so because if he is righteous, then instead of serpents and scorpions, the Creator will make a miracle for him. And sometimes, the merit of one’s fathers stands for a person and he is saved from them. But once one is given to one’s enemies, only few can survive.

133) This is why he said, “…that he might save him from their hands.” It is precisely “from their hands.” But Reuben said, “from them,” and should he die, it is best if he dies in the pit. This is why it is written, “And Reuben heard it, and saved him from their hand.” Thus, he saved him from dying under their hands, but should he die, it will be in the pit.

134) How great is Reuben’s piousness? He knew that the partnering, craftiness, and conjoining of Shimon and Levi is harsh because when they conjoined in Shechem, they killed every male. And they did not settle for that, but took women and children, silver and gold, every beast, every precious item, and everything that was in the city. And they did not settle for that; they even took everything that was in the field, as it is written, “They took… that which was in the city and that which was in the field.”

135) And if such a great city was not saved from them, should this child fall into their hands, they would not leave a piece of his flesh in the world. This is why he said it is best to save him from them, for they will leave no trace of him in the world, and my father will never see any of him.

136) But should he die here in the pit, his brothers will not be able to reach him and will leave his body whole, and I will return him whole to my father. This is why the text says, “…that he might deliver him from their hand, to bring him back to his father.” This is also why he said, “The boy is gone.” He did not say, “The boy is dead,” but “gone,” not even dead.

137) He wisely participated with them. He was not present when Joseph was sold because they were all serving their father, each on a different day, and that day was Reuben’s. And he did not want Joseph to be lost on the day of his service, which is why it is written, “Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit,” not even dead. He promptly returned to his brothers.

138) Even Reuben did not know of Joseph’s selling, and Divinity partook in the ban they had enforced, to not disclose Joseph’s selling. And he did not find out until that time when Joseph appeared before his brothers.

139) What happened to Reuben as a result of his efforts to save Joseph’s life? It is written, “Let Reuben live, and not die.” Although he knew that the seniority was taken away from him and was given to Joseph, he still tried to save his life. This is why Moses prayed and said, “Let Reuben live, and not die,” and he persisted in this world and in the next world, since he saved Joseph’s life, and because he repented for the act of desecrating his father’s bed, and anyone who repents, the Creator revives him in this world and in the next world.

140) “So they took Joseph’s tunic…” since the blood of a male goat is similar to human blood. But even though it was done properly, without transgression, the Creator is as meticulous with the righteous even as a hair’s breadth.

141) Jacob did the right thing when he sacrificed a male goat—the side of the harsh judgment—to his father. Yet, because he sacrificed a male goat and weakened his father—for his harsh judgment, since this is his side, for Isaac, too, is harsh judgment—hence, the judgment in the goat clung to him. This is why Jacob was punished with another male goat after his sons brought the blood to him.

142) It is written about Jacob, “…the skins of the young goats.” This is why it is written about his sons, “…and dipped the tunic in the blood.” They brought the tunic to him to weaken him, and all was one parallel to the other. This is what caused what is written, “Then Isaac trembled violently,” meaning his sons caused him to tremble violently at the time when it says, “see whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”

143) It is written, “…whether you are my son, Esau, or not.” It is also written, in relation to him, “…whether it is your son’s tunic or not.” This is so because the Creator is meticulous with the righteous in everything they do.

144) And since all the tribes saw their father’s sorrow, they certainly regretted selling Joseph and would have given their souls to redeem him, should they find him. But since they saw that they could not redeem him, they returned to Judah, who advised them to sell him. And they removed him from over them, since he was their king. And since they removed him from over them, it is written, “And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down.”

(înapoi la pagina ZOHAR CUPRINS / VAYEŞEV – click)

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